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Cambrai 1917: The Myth of the First Great Tank Battle ebook

by Bryn Hammond


Cambrai 1917 is his first book. This book is a very good history of the battle of Cambrai, fought near the end of 1917. It was the first real combined arms attack, mixing artillery, infantry, tanks and cavalry to attack the town of Cambrai

Cambrai 1917 is his first book. It was the first real combined arms attack, mixing artillery, infantry, tanks and cavalry to attack the town of Cambrai. It also signaled the end of cavalry as an effective fighting force and made war into a science rather than an art.

When the British dispatched 400 tanks against the German army at the Battle of Cambrai in 1917, the result was a draw-but legend quickly declared the tank a winner following its first major role in combat. Bryn Hammond reveals that the narrative that emerged from this legendary battle was mostly a myth.

Cambrai was the last battle fought by the British on the Western Front in 1917. With Russia out of the war, Italy on the brink of collapse, and the French still reeling from the effects of widespread mutiny, Britain was the only member of the Western Allies still capable of holding the mighty German Army at bay. They did so by taking the fight to the Germans in one of the greatest turning point battles of twentieth-century warfare.

Not to divulge the conclusions, but the the last several pages are worth reading the bulk of the book.

The final chapter is where the 'myths' are considered. Not to divulge the conclusions, but the the last several pages are worth reading the bulk of the book. The 'bulk' is worthwhile, but the real analysis is at the conclusion.

Cambrai was the last - and most influential - battle fought by the British on the Western Front in 1917. With many of the Allies on the brink of collapse, only Britain was still capable of holding the Germans at bay. Over time, many myths have grown up around what happened at Cambrai. The events of this iconic attack are now buried beneath accumulated legends and misrepresentations built up over almost a century.

Dr Bryn Hammond is a member of the Centre for First World War Studies, the British Commission for Military History and the Western Front and Gallipoli Associations. He is also joint convenor of the Imperial War Museum's History Group. He has written numerous articles about the First World War, and is a regular speaker on the subject. Cambrai 1917 is his first book.

The story of the first great tank battle, and the genesis of one of the most formidable weapons of the twentieth century. Cambrai was the last – and most influential – battle fought by the British on the Western Front in 1917. It is remembered as the world’s first great tank battle, but.

Just received a book titled "Cambrai 1917 - The Myth of the First Great Tank Battle" by Bryn Hammond. Only read the first few pages and it has already hooked me in. Makes me look forward to this game even more. Let's hope it comes out this year! Posted Fri Mar 18, 2011 11:37 pm. QuickReply.

Bryn Hammond shows how generals and politicians seduced by the tank’s mythical abilities helped create a more .

Bryn Hammond shows how generals and politicians seduced by the tank’s mythical abilities helped create a more mobile army in the following decades. see all 2 descriptions). Library descriptions. This book tells the story of the first great tank battle, and the genesis of one of the most formidable weapons of the 20th century. see all 2 descriptions.

When the British dispatched 400 tanks against the Germans at the Battle of Cambrai in 1917, the result was a draw for the armies—but a win for the tank, following its first major role in combat. But the initial British successes were due to innovations in artillery, not tanks—and tanks didn’t keep the Germans from recapturing their losses. Bryn Hammond shows how generals and politicians seduced by the tank’s mythical abilities helped create a more mobile army in the following decades.

Rias
This book gave a good review of WW1 on the western front up to 1917. It also gave a good feeling how thw average officer thought about the war. There was so much information about single men that the big picture felt unclear. Therewere too few maps so the reader could follow the action.
Samulkree
After the attack , the war went on it seemed like forever. Much to long. Needs more photos.
Malarad
This book is a very good history of the battle of Cambrai, fought near the end of 1917. It was the first real combined arms attack, mixing artillery, infantry, tanks and cavalry to attack the town of Cambrai. It showed the way forward for armies in fighting in the new era of industrial warfare, showing how a well organised attack could breakthrough the trench stalemate that had bled European armies dry over the previous three years. It also signaled the end of cavalry as an effective fighting force and made war into a science rather than an art. Many of the tactics used, such as ground attack aircraft, artillery science and infantry/tank co-operation, would be refined and developed up to the Second World War.

The author writes a very readable book, rich in diary and letter extracts from both British and German soldiers and officers who fought the battle. Thus, not only does the read gain an understanding of the strategy used by both sides but also an understanding of what it was like for those who fought the battle. This is especially true of those who had fought in the previous battle of Ypres or the Somme, with their bloodsoaked battlefields and sausage machine that they became. The writing flows very well and the chapters are logically set out into the various stages of the battle, from the initial preparation and attack by the British and the couter-attack by the Germans (using their new storm-trooper tactics) and final stalemate.

The battle of Cambrai was both a success and a tragic failure. The British who came so close to achieving a breakthrough and yet were unable to act when required.

A thoroughly recommended book.
romrom
First of all I would like to congratulate the author for writing a book on Cambrai. The only other modern text is Jack Sheldon's "The German Army at Cambrai".

Secondly, this is a difficult book about which to make comments. The reason being that the book's content exists on two levels; one is the experience of the individual soldier and the second is the broader tactical and strategic plans produced by Haig and Byng as well as the counter-strategy of the Germans.

I think it is fair to say that the author's research has been spot on when it comes to relating the experiences of those who participated in the battle. I believe the latest reference to a diary or journal entry was in the 1930s.

Now to the second point: I do not believe the author spent sufficient time in the archives. His British sources are meager other than those from the IWM and his German sources are almost nonexistent. He does not have a single citation from the Kreigstagbuchen of Rupprict's Army, Corps or Divisions. The archives at Karlsruhe, Munich, Stuttgart and most importantly Freiburg are never mentioned.

There are other mistakes in the book, e.g., the casualty figures for the Battle of the Somme are taken from Edmonds OH of 1948 and are regarded by most scholars as fictional.

The author also subscribes to the Peter Liddle school of thought that the British Army on the Western Front was participating in a Learning Curve. Based on that assumption, it is safe to assume that if they the British had lost twice as many men, they would have solved the puzzle in half the time.

The author also claims that the Germans retreated to the Hindenburg Line in February, 1917 because of the losses suffered at the Somme.
Quite the contrary; Hindenburg and Ludendorff had replaced Falkenhaym after the Verdun fiasco and realized that a strategic withdrawal would provide a more defensible front and a manpower reduction of at least ten divisions.
The author also confuses Falkenhayn's policy of rapid counter attack with H&L's policy of limiting casualties and not buying useless real-estate with more dead bodies.

The author also overlooks all of Haigs shortcomings. Haig complains that 2nd Division Hdqtrs is too far behind the front, although this was DH's modus operandi. There are many others.

The maps are scale-wise quite good in that they are much better than the usual 1:20,000 or even the 1:10,000 trench maps.
The problem arises however when brigades and smaller units are part of the dialogue but not part of the relevant map.
Having said the above, the author provides a very good description of the methods used by the British artillery to target their opponents.

Now to a larger issue; the author never addresses the difference between a break through and a break out. The Germans achieved the latter on March 21, 1918, while the British achieved the former beginning on November 20th 1917.
The British had sacrificed 10s of thousands of lives to establish a salient similar to that of Ypres;: a salient vulnerable on three sides as well as the rear which would, with the German counter-attack, collapse.

This book ranks with Lyn MacDonald's books. All of which, especially "To The Last Man" are quite good reads. On the credit side, Bryn Hammond provides endnotes, whereas MacDonald only provides a bibliography. It would be nice if authors would make a habit of combining the two.

I was tempted to give this book a 2 Star rating, but on reflection and since the author has been bold enough to tackle a WW1 battle that has been sadly neglected, I chose a 3 star rating.

Best regards,

James
Cambrai 1917: The Myth of the First Great Tank Battle ebook
Author:
Bryn Hammond
Category:
Military
Subcat:
EPUB size:
1352 kb
FB2 size:
1902 kb
DJVU size:
1352 kb
Language:
Publisher:
Phoenix (March 2, 2010)
Pages:
416 pages
Rating:
4.2
Other formats:
lrf txt lrf lit
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